Sri Lanka : The logic of electricity tariffs and spiraling cost of living
Posted on April 21st, 2013

Shenali Waduge

Every Government has adopted the policy that having voted them into power it is the public who must foot the bill for their corrupt and luxurious living. The 60% hike in electricity comes with the certainty that everything running on electricity will also see a steep rise “”…” do politicians and political appointees in the public service even care what this would mean to the masses given that they do not pay taxes?

The country has suffered dearly for 30 years. It is no small time and throughout this period it was the public and the armed forces that suffered. The public lived in fear of bomb attacks and had to also meet the colossal expense while the military had to not only suffer loss of life but face multitude of humiliations primarily as a result of Governments tasking portfolios to people who do not care a cent about the nation or its people “”…” the same people continue to be lavished key roles and they continue to be kept despite the warnings given. Then the very ministers who have ruined the ministries given to them continue to be given ministries that will obviously see the same fate whilst others who have in their power to turn around their ministries by implementing formulas approved delay so obviously because of “influences”.

The people know who these traitors are.

The electricity tariff increase will no doubt affect consumers like never before because it will not only be the electricity bill that will increase but all commodities running on electricity will see a steep rise and probably profit-driven businesses would also raise their prices because the state mechanism is not dedicated to ensuring the public are not fleeced.

The people must now demand that the politicians and the public officials show examples of tightening the belt themselves, although given their sizes after coming to power that would be a rather tedious exercise! The politicians and public officials must show to us what their contributions are to be to reduce their wastage and we must be informed through state media in what ways they promise to cut down on their corrupt ways. This is a must.

A country’s burdens cannot be heaped upon the public whilst those that actually contribute to the spiraling costs indulge in wastage after waste of everything that the taxpayer ends up having to pay for. This is now getting a bit overboard and it is time Parliament convenes and seriously set up a list of do’s and don’t’s for every MP “”…” wastage and corruption and mismanagement that is becoming a nightmare must stop. The taxpayers see no reason in bringing down so many luxury vehicles, duty free vehicles that are only heaping the burden on the taxpayer. Do we need so much of imported luxury goods “”…” who exactly can afford to be paying for these items “”…” is it not the same people that live in Colombo? Can the masses afford any of the items that are on displays today at consumerable or non-consumerable levels? Are we knowingly running the country into debt and creating a situation like in Greece. Who is advising the nation on taking so much of loans “”…” how many generations will end up paying for these?

Officials need to be like Mr. Gotabaya Rajapakse focused on a program and seeing it through with so much precision, passion and dedication. He may be the brother of the President but no one can deny the characteristic traits that show him apart from all others. We can visibly see the return on investment on all these projects. Unfortunately, our respect for officials who are supposed to be giving advice and guidance has diminished to such an extent that we view them as nothing but “yes, men” no different to the politicians with a handful of countable few exceptions.

Fleecing the public is not the way to go and certainly is nothing that politicians can make a practice of doing. Politicians are servants of the public and its not the other way round. Politicians need to first learn that they become elected members to serve the people and that means they have to ensure that the needs of the people are catered to. They do not run for elections promising this that and the other going to the voters the only time in which they beg for their votes simply to get elected so they can fulfill their desires and goals.

These levels have reached appalling conditions and it is these actions that provide perfect reasons for western nations to use to muster forces for regime change. We do not want to see such an eventuality in Sri Lanka and certainly not for a Government that successfully countered every possible foreign pressure to effectively eliminate LTTE terrorism. But, when the Government keeps the very people that played roles in dividing and proposing legal provisions for separatism of the nation and striking deals with nations that have not made any bones about turning Sri Lanka into one its colonies as well as ignoring the concerns of the voters that voted them into power “”…” the likely scenario is going to be not only will they be dumped by these false friends that they are striking deals with but the voters will brand them traitors to the nation too “”…” these warnings have been given enough what surprises all the nationalists is why are the warnings being ignored. Giving sampur coal power plant to India is just one example of many.

Unfortunately, Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike often laughed as a mere housewife remains the sole head able to not only demand the respect of both the Eastern and Western blocs but she kept the nationality of Sri Lanka at the helm and no one attempted to tinker it.

Policies must be straight forward “”…” it must be clearly articulated and the nation is not a cake to be cut and divided according to the fancy of any who are elected to office for a term. Politicians and Governments are only custodians and they cannot barter the country for benefit. Opposition parties need to also realize that their role is expected to be far more than trying to destabilize the nation or overthrowing the government.



16 Responses to “Sri Lanka : The logic of electricity tariffs and spiraling cost of living”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Govt. will LOSE all support after this. Increasing prices to cover corruption is UNACCEPTABLE.

    Asantha de Mel’s daughter won promotions and bonuses at a bank that eneterd into BETTING with petroleum corp.

    The bet went wrong (as the bank EXPECTED).

    Govt. had to pay millions of dollars to the bank.

    Didn’t pay.

    Now the interest has become higher than the original amount.

    Now petroleum corp and treasury have to pay it but they don’t have money.

    Can’t increase fuel prices because Indian company will NOT increase any further.

    So their only option, increase electricity price.

  2. hela patriot Says:

    In this country no one is accountable. Doctors are not, lawyers are not, Politicians are not . The country is run on bribes not rules by political appointees. Country is been pawned and the money spent on white elephants and tamasha’s . Finally the price is paid by the poor and middle classes be it by increased prices for electricity, petroleum, food etc. Very soon like Greece we will start selling our beaches, land, all the assets we have to foreigners to pay for our debt. The corrupt will be abroad enjoying the ill gotten wealth the rest will be recolonized.

  3. Vijendra Says:

    If the GOSL scrapped the Indian imposed 13A and got rid of the Provincial Councils, they will not only be able to reduce the electricity fees, but also will have enough money to do so many other development work useful to the citizens. SL must also control the govt. expenditure by reducing its indulgence in luxury when so many Sri Lankans are finding it hard to meet the basic needs. There must be the proper imposition of law and order in the country and a limit to the abuse of power, corruption and illegal earnings by the politicians.

  4. Dilrook Says:

    I fully agree with Vijendra. People are taxed left, right and centre. PCs cost over $1.3 billion this year. True, some of this money goes to some schools and some hospitals, there is a tremendous amount going to PC administration. Their cars, offices, personal assistants, corruption/waste, etc. get added.

    There is also duplicate payment handling. Government pays to PCs (with transaction costs and persons to make this payment). Then PC manages its own finances and pays to a hospital (with transaction costs and persons to make this payment). Then there are elections every 4 years that cost billions directly and indirectly.

    The 13A is a national curse.

    However, Ceypetco (on account of fuel to CEB and not on account of other transactions – don’t get confused with other transactions) and CEB are making huge losses that is borne by the people. By raising electricity prices, these losses are transfered to those who consume electricity in that proportion. Therefore, I prefer the charging of consumers proportionately (as with their bill) than charge everyone (which is what happens now) by way of high inflation.

    Hedging deal has nothing to do with this.

    In the long run we need to make CEB more efficient. With the highest salaries in the public sector and crippling strikes despite making it an essential service, the government and the people are now at the mercy of CEB trade unions.

    Cut where people won’t feel the pinch and that is the huge and useless PC allocation.

  5. Dilrook Says:

    For instance the Western Provincial Council has 104 members. This is close to half of the national parliament.
    Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara total parliamentary representation is only 55 seats.

    There is next to no one in the government who understands economics.

  6. callistus Says:

    The irony is financially challenged folks do understand that it is not unreasonable to expect electricity price hikes, it is the 4×4 driving rich Colomboans who is making a big fuss about the price increases. Even the author has recently been unreasonably critical. Has the LTTE bought her off.

  7. sridaran Says:

    I really consider Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike as the most pragmatic leader we ever had. She came to the PM’s chair straight from the kitchen allright – but she governed well . No one can call her communal though her husband was associated with the ‘sinhala only ‘ mantra . She wanted Sri Lanka to be self reliant in food – be it rice or maiyokka !! Whenever any communal happenings raised its head anywhere in the island, she nipped it in the bud .

  8. aloy Says:

    It appears that the new electricity tariff are going to stay (unless there is a big calamity, at least for the time being. I heard HE the president announcing this over the TV about two hours ago. So, the best thing is to find out ways to ameliorate the situation at least on the long run. The reason the CEB gives for increase of tariff is that the power generation by private companies to manage the peak load is expensive as these generators are run on diesel or other oils. I have come accross some ideas to manage this by an expert (one DR. Janaka) on the internet on the following link:
    I know of a Sri Lankan electronics engineer from Moratuwa uni presently working as an Associate professor in a uni in an ASEAN country did some reseach on this and invented system that he and his team of students applied for world wide patent. He also invented along with his students a hand held devise to switch on and off all electrial appliances in a dwelling by remotly controlling them from anywhere in the world through internet and got patent for his uni. For that he was given the promotion as Asst. Prof. At the time I met him he was working on few other inventions. That uni had asked the lecturers to engage on such reseach work if they want promotions. What I am going to say is, why not CEB contact him, get his idea and go one step further to control non essential items like refregirators by swiching off during the peak load by making use of the 3G system (third generation ‘global system for mobile communication’), which I believe covers the whole of SL. A device with a SIM card may be used to actuate the switches for all heavy items there by reducing the load at peak time substantially.
    Another thing CEB can do is to educate the people how much they can save by switching off items in their house hold. At the moment it looks as if even experienced engineers seem to know how much items like TV, Fridge or AC take. Look at the link I have given above. Dr. Janaka says a TV is 60W. I have seen another former senior Elecrical Engineer from CEB saying either in this forum or CDN that a Fridge is about 40W. I asked a close relative of mine who worked as an electrical engineer for many years in ME how much an AC would carry. His answer was 12- 16k BTU; he did not know how many watts or KW. So, there is a lot CEB has to do in present circumstances as electricity is too expensive

  9. aloy Says:

    Please see the electricity load of house hold appliances in the following link:

  10. aloy Says:

    “seem not to know how much items like TV, Fridge or AC take.”

  11. Marco Says:

    The word “traitors” been used rather regularly.
    Who are these “traitors”? In the current context of your article would they be the ones that organised night races at great expense and inconvenience to the general public?
    The cost of electricity/energy on that very occasion would have supplied a small village 3 months worth of electricity supply.(free of charge!)
    I wonder who benefited from the night races? or for that matter the smallest increase in the tariffs applies to the large users- Colomboans and Politicians with large mansions with Gyms, Swimming Pools, AC and large Fridge Freezers

    Well done Shenali

  12. Marco Says:

    Some advice from our President and Minister Basil Rajapakse as reported in the Daily News (no less)

    [The fuel adjustment charges would disappear by the end of this year, when the gradual transition to coal power is accomplished and power generation is not oil dependant, CEB officials and the Minister of Power and Energy Pavithra Wanniarachchi stated, at the Editors’ meeting with the president at Temple Trees yesterday.

    Around 30 per cent of the households will experience a mere 75 per cent increase in their electrify bills as a result of the contemplated tariff increase, said the Power and Energy and CEB officials with the President, quipping – ‘What’s the price of two cigarettes?’.

    It was stressed that a unit of electricity that takes Rs. 24 to create is being sold at rupees six or seven, even after the power tariff increases now in the offing.

    However, Minister Basil Rajapaksa stressed that those who do not consume during the peak load period of 6.30 pm to 10 pm are in receipt of an automatic bonanza if they consume power at the non-peak hours as the new tariffs are structured that way.

    “Consume in the non -peak hours for your main needs and the benefit will automatically accrue in the bill,’ he said.]

    So- Smoke two less cigarettes and get your ayyas , cooks and housemaids to cook dinner, wash clothes in the washing machine and use the dish washer before 6.30 pm
    We are all happy!

  13. Lorenzo Says:

    What bloody retards!

    “Around 30 per cent of the households will experience a mere 75 per cent increase in their electrify bills as a result of the contemplated tariff increase”

    A mere 75% increase!! That is one heck of a 75% increase!!

    “who do not consume during the peak load period of 6.30 pm to 10 pm are in receipt of an automatic bonanza”

    Electricity is NEEDED MOST at this time!! Which fool will NOT use electricity at this time!!

    NIGHT CLUBS and NIGHT RACES will be OK because MOST of their business starts AFTER 10 pm!! This is a bloody joke.

    This will DEFEAT the UPFA UNLESS we have a price structure that SKIMS COLOMBIANS and help the villagers. CMC street lighting is the BIGGEST USER of electricity. Increase the price by TEN TIMES. MOST people living in CMC area are UriNePee voters. (Unless they decide to live in the dark.)

    Introduce GEOGRAPHY SPECIFIC prices. CMC area, Galle MC area, Kandy MC area, Jaffna, Batticaloa districts should pay more for electricity than other districts.

  14. Fran Diaz Says:

    Passing the price hike on electricity to the Middle Class & the poorer sectors of society is a mistake and counterproductive to the President’s wish to expand the voter base. The affluent members of society in Lanka can easily absorb the price hike, but certainly unfair to the others.

    It would be better to remove the 13-A and the PCs along with it – huge savings there plus keep the country whole. That would be the Democratic way to go. People Power must rule with Solar Power.

  15. douglas Says:

    I think the Hon. Minister of Pwer and Energy needs to “sell” this electricity price hike to the “Public” in a very meaningful and understanding way. This Government through its officials cannot do it. So I recommend the Hon. Minsiter to hire a “Publicity Campaign Co” like that hired by the Central Bank recently in New York, USA. Of course, the cost of the services of that Co. is Rs. 8.3 millions a month and valid for five years.

    The chief negotiator of that deal is a “accredited Limousine Driver” by the name Siriwardane, who ultimately is also engaged as a consultant. So why not the Hon. Minister of Power and Energy seriously consider to engage “his expertise” to dispel this “unfavourable” publicity about the “Electricity Price Hike”.

    To Sonali: Are your trying to “FIND GAJA MUTHU IN A WILD BOAR’s HORNS”? Please don’t waste your time and energy.

  16. Fran Diaz Says:

    Is one of the Loan Lenders to Lanka imposing rules on Sri Lanka re electricity costs & repayments ? Why is CEB (GoSL) following unpopular moves ?

    Each District ought to have its own SOLAR & WIND POWER PLANTS to supply electricity. This is renewable energy far superior to Coal (Sampur) which is an environmentally unfriendly item.

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